Thursday, 23 July 2015

My public lecture at Queen Mary

Very interesting to give a public lecture at Queen Mary University, London on Tuesday. A mixed audience threw in some really challenging thoughts, in particular about how it can be that we are still talking about things like intercultural capabilities after 30 years of talking about them!

I do believe we have developed a more complex understanding of the kinds of capabilities our graduates will need to lead lives they have reason to value in a globalising world, and some universities are beginning to make changes to curriculum content and delivery to help them become the kinds of people they will need, and we will need, if our futures are to involve dwelling comfortably amidst diversity. However, there is much much more to do, and the urgency for universities to think about their global role is real, and is made more crucial with advances in TNE provision.

On a personal note, I think I need to work on my 'lecture' style when it is being streamed and recorded - too much pacing!

Friday, 17 July 2015

White Rose Learning Technologist Meeting - 8th July 2015.

On the 8th July 2015 CLT at Leeds Beckett hosted the final White Rose Learning Technologist Forum of the academic year. The forum meet once a semester at a location provided by one of the forum members. My team had kindly offered to host this meeting and provide lunch for the members.

The forum is made up of learning technologists from across the Yorkshire region, although called learning technologists many of the members have slightly different job titles and perform roles at a range of levels within their institution. 

This forum welcomed 21 staff from 8 institutions and included one independent consultant. The forums have been themed recently and this one was aimed at CPD and professional recognition, a particularly hot topic in the sector.

The session was led by Graham McElearney and Nav Hundal from University of Sheffield. 

The first part of the session was discussing our roles, how our roles were different to others in our institutions and what skills we needed to do our jobs effectively. Groups fed back to the room and it was very clear that we all did slightly different things even though many of us shared the same job title. There was no consistency on whether it was a central team or at a more localised level of support and work. Also some institutions had no structure and many roles and locations had grown organically through local need and individuals developing and expanding their roles. The skills that we thought were important for our roles were based around soft skills including communication, diplomacy, change managers, adaptability and flexibility. 

The summary from this section was that we have a wide range of skills spread across similar but slightly different roles in different parts of an institution. One of our greatest strengths is being an adaptable and diverse community.  

Next we talked about the professional accreditation schemes open to Learning Technologists with focus on HEA fellowships and CMALT (Certified member of the Association of Learning Technologists). It was clear that both had value to the individual during creation of the documentation to reflect on their existing practice and skills. It was felt that the HEA scheme was better understood by academics as they also applied for this scheme. 

The afternoon progressed with looking at grading scales, how they vary and what the slight changes in wording there was at different levels. 

The afternoon was finished with suggesting ideas for the next events and possible hosts. The next meeting will be an informal one for those attending ALT-C. As always it was a great meeting with engaging discussion, well worth attending for any learning technologist in the Yorkshire region. 

If you want to know more about the group, there is a google community that people can request to join here.